The Henna Wars
Nishat doesn’t want to lose her family, but she also doesn’t want to hide who she is, and it only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life. Flávia is beautiful and charismatic, and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat decide to showcase their talent as henna...more
When matters of the heart are involved, it's difficult to be careful.
This was such a perfect blend of serious and sweet. I requested an arc of The Henna Wars on a whim, but soon found myself completely engrossed in this story about prejudice, culture, appropriation and romance.
Jaigirdar sets her story in a Catholic Girls' High School in Dublin. Nishat is Bangladeshi, Muslim and gay; she just came out to her parents and was met with an uncomfortable silence, so she is understandably heartbrok ...more
What a stunning debut. I hoped this book would be good but I didn't expect it to be extraordinary. I read this book in one sitting and stayed up until 2am to finish it.
This is not going to be a coherent review, be warned. The book touches so many different themes, from sisterhood to bullying, homophobia, family and racism and it's all done so well. One of my favour ...more
It’d be a lie to say that I didn’t have high expectations for this book. (I mean, the premise is essentially “what if we were business rivals who may or may not have feelings for each other? and we were both girls?” so how could I not.) And I’m very happy to say that I was not disappointed in the least!
The Henna Wars follows a Bengali girl named Nishat, who just came out to her parents and has to figure out how to not crumble under the despairing weight of ...more
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This was our August 2020 pick for the Dragons and Tea Book Club! 🐉☕ (Also, we are so close to 5k members and it would mean the world to me if you joined us!)
💖 Content and trigger warnings: racism, homophobia, bullying, character being outed (thank you so much, May!) ...more
It’s for your own safety. And protection. And well-being.
I am about to say something so heinous, so deeply upsetting, so profoundly unforgivable, that it may change the course of your life forever.
Here we go.
There’s still time to stop reading.
Here it is:
The cutest part of this book…
Is the cover.
I know. I’m sorry. If you want to send the Bookworm Police to revoke my membership card, I will understand.
But I’m speaking my truth on this one.
Good things about this:
You can also find links to the first chapter excerpt and the Spotify Playlist on my website!
Happy reading everyone! ...more
[let's talk about family]
Family is a really powerful theme in this book, because Nishat is lesbian and is coming out to her co ...more
CULTURE REP: 4500
What I want more than anything else in the world is to feel like being myself isn’t something that should be hidden and a secret.
What I want is for my parents to be outraged that someone betrayed me, not ashamed of my identity.
This book is incredibly cute and cheesy(so cheesy you can actually smell the cheese) and maybe a bit over the top but I love it that way, call me sentimental but I said what I said!
I can’t deny my expectations for this book were high and it just about delivered. I enjoyed the story a lot, but the finished product didn’t exactly give me what I thought it would. I was looking forward to in-depth dives into cultural appropriation, a Sapphic enemies to lovers romance, and just a story generally dealing with the aftermath of coming out. I still got one of those things, so that’s still decent but this book felt like it could've been so much more.
The Henna Wars centres on a ...more
August pick for the Dragons & Tea Bookclub
The instant I finished the audiobook I felt tears pricking my eyes and just this huge sense of happiness that almost felt overbearing. This made my heart feel so full and whole, and in that moment I felt truly known.
I loved this book from the very beginning; I loved Nishat, I loved Priti, I loved their sisterly bond, I loved that this book started off with a wedding, I loved that Nishat knew Flávia from before and that she was maybe her first c ...more
i was genuinely so excited to read this. the premise sounded so beautiful - a hate-to-love romance between two girls of colour who have a competing henna business...
well, the execution was not there, to say the least.
-the writing was felt so childish at points and remained consistently bland. there was something so weird about it that made it difficult for me to feel connected to the story and characters. nishat's narrative voice just felt very juvenile at points. there's j ...more
May 12, 2020:
Allow me to recount my first ever job: I was good at henna designing and when—in eight grade—the beauty parlours around my house were in search of more staff during the busy days before Ei ...more
But I’m tired of being ashamed. My choice is clearly laid out in front of me. I’m going to choose me.
I really loved the main character's journey as an individual, but sadly I couldn't support the romance. It's not that Flávia did something irreversible, but Nishat's emotions were so well written, that when Flávia made her upset I don't know how many times in a row, I was so disappointed and hurt in Nishat's bahalf, I just couldn't see how we (Nishat and me) could ever forgive her. Ev ...more
The Henna Wars was a wonderful contemporary novel! Adiba Jaigairdar puts Bengali culture on full display while also tackling topics such as sexuality and cultural appropriation.
"Of course Muslims can be gay. How can anyone think otherwise? The two aren't mutually exclusive. I am the living, breathing proof."
~★~ What is this book about? ~★~
When Nishat comes out as lesbian to her parents, they’re hesitant to adapt their cultural and religious views for her.
At school, students are give ...more
This was really, really nice and I adored this book so much. It’s always good to be reading some YA, especially YA contemporary as I do tend to spend a lot of time reading fantasy, and more often than not adult fantasy, which can often be dense, slow and complex. This was just a really easy read and I flew right through it and that was great. The writing was sort of simple(which can be good or bad depending on your taste ...more
But because it's the kind of moment I could never have dreamed of having in a million years.”
representation: characters of colour (Bengali MC (own voices), Brazilian-Irish love interest, Korean side character), own voices queer characters (lesbian MC, bisexual love interest), Muslim MC (own voices).
[trigger war ...more
Nishat has a problem. Well, she doesn't have a problem—her parents, friends and rivals do. Her parents won't accept that she is a lesbian. Her friends won't accept her desire to operate a henna shop as part of their school project. And her rivals are—well. One is a girl she is instantly attracted to, and the other is the Worst Human Being On Earth.
Why do they get to take away my right to come out, and win a competition with my culture o...more
I wouldn’t call this book particularly fluffy/romantic as most of the content is heart-wrenching, but it did end happily and I cried my eyes out.
Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
tw: homophobia, racism, outing, bullying
ARC provided by the publisher. Review also on my blog.
If I was to describe The Henna Wars in one word, I would say “comforting”. It’s comforting in a way that it’s a story about a Bengali Muslim lesbian, very clearly not catered towards white audience. The mc’s culture is a central point of the book, it plays a major role and not once is the girl made ...more
Full review HERE
Trigger warnings for racism, homophobia, bullying and a character being outed.
The Henna Wars totally surprised me! It deals with quite a lot of important themes, but it does so in an efficient and caring way. This young adult book is about Nishat, a Bengali girl who lives in Ireland and who enjoys creating henna designs. She has an insta-crush on Flávia, a Brazilian girl who us ...more
CWs: Incurred racism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, homophobia, bullying, and forced public outing of a queer character
This book is AMAZING. At its heart, I think this story is really about Nishat confronting ignorance and pain from people and places she once deemed to be safe. I think it's about how the people who love us can still very much hurt us, perhaps more than anyone else, and it's about the complicated roads we take to bring ourselves and our relationships out of that.